Ground Plan of Cave 17, Ajanta
Draughtsman: Gill, Robert (c.1824-1875)
Medium: Pen and ink on paper
Pen-and-ink and wash drawing of the ground plan of Cave17 at Ajanta, from an album of 26 ground plans of the Ajanta caves and 16 folios of drawings of sculpture and architectural details in the Ajanta caves, by Cpt. R. Gill, dated c.1850.
The magnificent cave temples of Ajanta are situated in a horse-shoe valley of the Waghora river in West India and consist of prayer halls (chaityas) and monasteries (viharas), built for the Buddhist community who lived there. The first group was excavated between the second - first centuries BC; then, after a period of more than six centuries, the excavations restarted around the fifth century AD, under the Vakataka patronage. Cave 17 is a very fine monastery excavated in the late fifth century during the reign of the Vakataka king Harisena. It consists of a pillared verandah, a hall supported by twenty octagonal columns and an antechamber leading to the shrine. The cave is renowned for the magnificent wall paintings that adorn its walls. These depict various Jatakas legends about the previous lives of Buddha.